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Tag Archive: Colorado

Nov 14

The late musical legend and entertainer’s entertainer, Al Fike, inducted into Holt County, Missouri, Music Hall of Fame, Nov. 28, 2015, in Forest City, MO.

Al Fike Estes Park.jpg

“Al Fike and his beloved Rocky Mountains” reprinted with permission by The Estes Park Trail-Gazette, originally published in the Time of Your Life edition, Autumn 1989.

Al Fike, longtime music educator in Holt County and nationally-known entertainer, is one of the inductees in the new Holt County Music Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at 7 PM on November 28th at the Historic City Hall on The Al Fike Stage in Forest City, MO. More information about the ceremony can be found on this link: https://www.facebook.com/forestcitymo/?fref=nf.

Al Fike Stage

Al Fike’s life story is on the link below directing you to the biography I wrote about him. It was a pleasure helping him record his memories of his amazing musical career. It was not published until after he died, although we worked on it together a few years before then. Al would indeed be honored and delighted to be inducted into the Music Hall of Fame in Holt County. I can just hear him saying “Ain’t ya glad you come” (a saying he used to begin his shows). Here’s the link to my book if you want to take a look: http://kayhoflander.com/books/al-fike/


Al began his professional career in 1948 in Central City, Colorado, after years of teaching music and serving as a school superintendent in Missouri. Al Fike became a living legend, preserving and enhancing the traditions of the American musical stage as no other performer has ever done. The Al Fike Show was an opportunity to see an entertainer’s entertainer perform (and teach).



Feb 29

It’s the statistics–why I love baseball

A baseball fan has the digestive apparatus of a billy goat. He can, and does, devour any set of diamond statistics with insatiable appetite and then nuzzles hungrily for more.
–Arthur Daley (1904-1974) N.Y. Times sportswriter?

“You are going to Surprise for spring baseball training, again? Do you really love baseball that much,” asked my young friend who was clearly incredulous.

There was only one answer I could honestly give her, yes. But I added this disclaimer, I am blaming my lasting love of baseball on my Great-Aunt Ida who lived, incidentally, to the age of 98 and spent the last summer of her life watching baseball and spouting stats like she had every summer since the early 70s.

It rubbed off, I guess.

Aunt Ida was an unabashed lover of all things baseball from the first moment the Kansas City Royals became a team in 1969. She liked the Kansas City Athletics just fine, but when the Royals emerged on the scene, she was smitten.

My great-aunt lived in Denver where the Kansas City Royals were considered the home team and the favorite of most people who lived between Kansas City and California. This was long before anybody had conceptualized the Colorado Rockies.

My family visited her every summer, but if the Royals were playing when we arrived, we kids knew to sit quietly and watch the game with her. That was not the time to suggest going out to dinner or to make small talk. She recited baseball stats as well as Jack Buck, Harry Carey or Bob Uecker and her prowess left us speechless.

Not being a math aficionado myself, it is strange to me how I picked up Aunt Ida’s love of baseball statistics. However, I learned over the years that the brain handles statistics a little differently than it processes those pesky eighth-grade math word problems that never made any logical sense to me anyway.

Statistics, now that is another matter.

Curious about this weird trait I have of loving baseball stats and hating math, I wandered around the web and found a blog written in 2009 on this very subject titled “Why I Love Baseball: Statistics”. It is written by a blogger who calls himself Sixty Feet, Six Inches (in baseball ‘stat speak’ that is the exact distance between the pitcher and the batter).

Sixty Feet, Six Inches says it better than I can:

“I’m horrible with numbers. In fact, I can’t do basic math without at least having a few minutes to figure out the answer. Yet, there’s something different about baseball statistics that allows my brain to completely utilize its potential and come to a quick answer… Statistics describe baseball; they are the language of the game. Stats let us know who is a great hitter (.300) and who is below average (.200)…Statistics add to the dramatic story that is a baseball game. If each game were a movie, then the player’s stats would be the character development. When the bases are loaded in the bottom of the ninth people want the hero who is batting .315 with thirty home runs to step up and save the team, yet without stats, most of us would not know who that person is. While we all love seeing the improbable happen with a walk off blast from a career .168 hitter, we would not fully understand the rarity of that underdog moment without stats.”

So off I will go to Surprise, Arizona, one day this spring to take in the sunshine, watch the Kansas City Royals in spring training and pay attention to the stats, which you know by now that I love.

Fair warning. Last spring, I wrote three columns about spring ball, so I can’t make any promises how wordy I will get this spring.
After all, baseball is, as writer-cartoonist Saul Steinberg once noted, “an allegorical play about America, a poetic, complex and subtle play of courage, fear, good luck, mistakes, patience about fate, and sober self-esteem.”

And I might add, about statistics.
Play ball!

Oct 02

Go ahead, ask me anything!

While on vacation in Colorado, I was sitting in a hotel lobby sipping coffee and enjoying the morning solitude. Little did I know the day was about to present a barrage of questions.

First up, a highly detailed woman (in my husband’s car vernacular is someone who is perfectly dressed) sat down across from me and started chatting.

First thing out of her mouth was this. “You look like someone who pays attention to her weight. Have you ever heard of the liquid diet? Eat normally one day, and the next consume only liquids.”

I said no I had not heard of that and wondered mildly why she asked me.

Later in the day while browsing in a bookstore, a customer next to me queried, “So have you read much about puppy mills? Do you know how terrible they are? There is a new book out that investigates puppy mills. It has a white poodle on the cover and a red background but I can’t remember the name.”

Still later while visiting a museum, the kindly attendant offered, “This newspaper is just wonderful,” she continued while pointing to the morning paper on her lap. Did you see today’s headline about the new wind farms in our state?”

Another woman, a complete stranger, interrupted before I could answer, “Your makeup is very nice dear and suits you well, but I know of a product that will take those lines away around your mouth and eyes. You should get some; it is only $95 a bottle. It will tighten your face up right away. Would you like the website?”

At dinner, I asked the waiter if the French onion soup was good. Giving a detailed explanation, he remarked that yes it was his favorite and that the onions are cooked to perfection. He provided expert commentary on the soup’s ingredients and then asked, “ Do you want to know a wonderful surprise within the soup? There is a full bay leaf at the bottom.”

Back in the hotel lobby at the end of the day, I encountered the highly detailed gal once again and foolishly decided to ask a question of her before she could interrogate me any further.

“Are you here for the Aspen tour, too,” I asked.

“Get real,” she snapped. “I am here for the gambling. I come to this charming little town to play the slots, not to see the trees. I don’t mind losing a little money either; I just hate to pay for the gas to drive here.”

“Oh,” I said.

“Gee, I am so sorry I have to take my husband a cup of coffee just now. Thanks for the nice visit,” I lied.

Before I could escape she meddled, “So what are your politics? What do you think of this crazy election? I’ll tell you what I think.”

I never looked back and darted for our room where I immediately checked my face in the mirror. Could I possibly have a neon sign on my forehead that flashes, “Go ahead and say any darn thing you please. Ask me anything.”

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